Choosing between Push and Fetch with iCloud - dummies

Choosing between Push and Fetch with iCloud

By Barbara Boyd

When you set up iCloud on your iOS device(s), any time you create or change data in an iCloud-enabled app, the new data is uploaded to iCloud and then pushed to all your devices.

Mail, however, gives you the option of choosing when and how new messages are downloaded. You have three choices:

  • Push: This is the most active option. Your device is constantly at the ready to receive new data; as soon as a message arrives, iCloud pushes that data to your device. This is great for receiving messages as soon as they’re sent; the downside of opting for Push is that the battery charge is more quickly consumed.

  • Fetch: This option instructs your device to check for messages at set intervals, such as every 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Thus, your iOS devices aren’t constantly consuming the battery to maintain the Internet connection and receive data that’s being pushed from iCloud.

  • Manual: Your last choice puts you in total control of when you receive data. Messages are downloaded when you open the Mail app or when you refresh by pulling down from the top of the screen while viewing either the list of mailboxes or messages.

You can turn Fetch and Push on or off whenever you want by following these steps:

  1. Tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars→Fetch New Data.

    The Fetch New Data screen opens.


  2. Turn Push to the On setting.

    New data is pushed to your device from the server.

    Regardless of whether Mail is open, messages arrive in real-time in your mailbox, and you hear an audible alert as they arrive (if you’ve established one). Depending on how you set up Notification Center, messages may appear on the locked screen and/or in the Notification Center.

  3. Choose a frequency for Fetch.

    Tap one of the four time choices (every 15 or 30 minutes, hourly, or manually).

    If you turn off Push or use an application that doesn’t support Push, your iPhone automatically checks for and downloads messages at the frequency you choose.

  4. If you have multiple e-mail accounts, scroll down the screen and tap the Advanced button.

    A screen opens that lists the e-mail accounts you have set up on your device.


  5. Tap the name of the account you want to manage.

    A screen opens with the schedule options available: Push, Fetch, and Manual — or, if Push isn’t supported, only Fetch and Manual.

  6. Tap the option you want:

    • Push: Automatically retrieve new messages as they arrive in your inbox on the server.

    • Fetch: Check for messages at the interval you established.

    • Manual: Check for messages only when you open the Mail app.

  7. Tap the Back buttons in the top-left corner to return to the Settings screen you want, or press the Home button to go to the Home screen.